Chinese-Russian bilateral trade hit $218 billion from January-November 2023, surpassing the $200 billion goal the two countries set in 2019, CNN reported following the China-Russia annual year-end meeting, during which both nations pledged to strengthen their ties across various issues.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had a sitdown with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Dec. 20, two months after Russian leader Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi.
During Mishustin’s visit, the two leaders emphasized their goals to cooperate in the future economically, and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening ties between the countries. They pledged to achieve this goal by 2024.
Western sanctions led to heightened trade and cooperation between China and Russia, and China has become a key partner for Russia, both economically and politically. After the full-scale invasion began in Ukraine, trade between China and Russia grew 30% in 2022, and today approximately half of Russia’s imports come from China.
“Maintaining and developing China-Russia relations well is a strategic choice made by both sides based on the fundamental interests of the two peoples,” Xi said, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Xi called for the strengthening of not only economic relations, but also energy, transport, and other fields.
Mishustin referred to the countries’ relations as reaching “the highest level ever.” The U.S. and EU have appealed to China multiple times to use its influence on Russia to bring the invasion to an end. Thus far, China has not condemned Russia’s actions, and has repeatedly abstained from voting in UN resolutions focused on the war in Ukraine.